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There were so many items we loved this year. Here is our favorites of 2015.

The Gift of Theatre

Who’s Your Badhdaddy or How I Won The Iraq War: Was hilarious, creative, clever, inspiring, a breath of fresh air with a score that I would buy right now, if I could. This new musical by Marshall Pailet (Claudio Quest, Triassic Parq) and A.D. Penedo (The Three Times She Knocked), was skillfully directed by Marshall Pailet, with fabulous choreography by Misha Shields. Sadly this show has closed.

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Cynthia Erivo and women ensemble in The Color Purple

The Color Purple: In a season of plot lines that show the negative side of life, the new revival of The Color Purple at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre is full of hope and inspiration. I see Tony gold for this production. Hands down, this is my favorite show of the year, so far.

Hamilton: This hip-hop musical is like 1776, Les Miz, In The Heights, Rent and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson all rolled into one, plus more. It is an exciting new form of musical, with original music as well as throwbacks to the past. The choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, will have anyone who sees this, wanting to learn this prolific new dance language.

Therese Raquin: Like a film by Ingmar Bergman or Lena Wertmuller. It is bleak, haunted, slow and concentrated. It is like watching a film more than a piece of theatre. It is the perfect blending of the two forms. I was transfixed.

Lost Girls: Raw, gritty and oh so real. The promises of first love last despite the odds. This so far is my favorite play of the season. Closed.

The Performers We Will Be Watching

Sophia Anne Carus

Sophia Anne Caruso

Sophia Anne Caruso: Blew Us Away  with her performances in Lazarus and The Nether. Oh my God! what a voice. This girl can sing anything and her voice is crystal clear, with a never ending range. Her acting is layered and profound and she is only fourteen.

Cynthia Erivo as Celie in The Color Purple knocks this role out of the park. She is memorizing and exquisite to watch as she plays the gamut of emotions, ages and situations. We love her, feel her pain and cheer endlessly when she declares her stance of hope, faith and perseverance.

Nathan Gardner: In the new musical by Allan Knee The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit, the lead Nathan Gardner caught our eye. Just in town 3 months Gardner is the real deal. He can act, sing, dance and makes us love him. With a young Nick Jonas look T2C predicts this boy will be a star.

Richard Goulding caught our eye in King Charles III. Standing out from the rest of his castmates as the raffish Harry Goulding is genuine, comedic, vulnerable and layered.

The Gift of Music

Barbara Cook Loverman: Age seems to agree with Ms. Cook, who sounds amazingly, better and better. She has one of the greatest voices and is a prolific storyteller of the American songbook. Who knew at 80 you could still astound. This 15-track set is almost entirely arranged and orchestrated by Ted Rosenthal. Highlights include “I Don’t Want Love,” “If I Love Again,” “More Than You Know,” and the title track “Loverman.”

Carolyn Montgomery-Forant

Carolyn Montgomery-Forant

Carolyn Montgomery-Forant with  Jon Webber Visable Phoenix: This is a CD for Cabaret artists and writers to see how it’s done. Recorded live at the Laurie Beechman, Ms. Forant is a humorous writer, with an astounding range and texture to her voice. The Shire/ Maltby “Life Story” had me wondering why she wasn’t pursuing the musical theatre route, while Micahael John LaChiusa’s “Remember Me” from Big Fish had me remembering why I loved that score. Forant brings a sincere haunting quality to the piece, which is lovely. My favorite numbers however are the ones Ms. Forant has written herself. They are truly comic works of genius.

Eric Michael Gillett Careless Rhapsody: The Lyrics of Lorenz Hart: Lisetening to Eric sing is like listening to a soul be set free. Gillette brings depth and a new meaning to these classic songs and you will finally understand their meanings in a way you never have. “Have You Met Miss Jones” into “Wait Till You see Her” will have you listening again and again as will My Romance into “My Funny Valentine.”

It Shoulda Been You: I loved this show on Broadway and was sorry that  the show had such a short run. Thankfully the score has been captured on CD. The lyrics by Brian Hargrove are witty and clever. I sent my writers to this show, while the music by Barbara Anselmi, is bright and tuneful, with “Whatever,” “Jenny’s Blues” and “A Little Bit Less Than” standing out. It would have been a crime for the talented Lisa Howard and Josh Grisetti not to be recorded.

Telly Leung Songs For You: Currently staring on Broadway in Allegiance, Leung is best known as Wes on “Glee” and his Broadway work in Godspell, Rent and Flower Drum Song. This heatfelt singer shines on “Human Nature,” “On My Way” and “I Just Had to Hear Your Voice.” We look forward to seeing what this stunning vocalist can do.

The Gift of Reading

Mama Joanie’s Family Cook Book

Mama Joanie’s Family Cook Book

Mama Joanie’s Family Cook Book Celebrating the Jewish and Italian Holidays: Jewish and Italian families pride themselves on tradition. Tradition is what the Bongiorno family is all about, and what you get in this volume of culinary secrets. Passed down through generations, this is a cookbook with recipes galore. You just choose a holiday and open to that page. Simple! I loved the “Apple Matzo Kugel” and the  “Meatballs” were out of this world.

Seth’s Broadway Diary Volume 2: Having never read Volume 1, I was glued to Seth’s hysterically funny book. Seth is Seth Rudetsky the Broadway host on Sirius XM, an actor, musician and columnist. Featuring stories from Broadway performers such as Lea Salonga, Megan Hilty, Gavin Creel, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more, this is a must-have for anyon who keeps up with the broadway buzz.

 Judy Jacksina

A rockin Judy Jacksina!

Razzle Dazzle Michael Riedel: This is the must have book of 2015. Riedel brings back the Broadway of the 70’s and 80’s and pulls away the curtain. You will never look at Broadway the same way again after this candid and well written expose on the world of theatre. Chapter 20 is our favorite. Bravo Judy Jacksina, you rock.

Our Favorite Stocking Stuffers

Cracked Candy is sugar free, vegan, diabetic-friendly and healthy. Their  not-so-secret ingredient is birchwood xylitol, a natural sweetener and sugar alternative, that is good for your teeth. Even better the kitchen that they use provides opportunities to people with disabilities. This is a win, win anyway you look at it.



Cyrotherapy is a three-minute treatment that burns up to 800 calories, release an eight ball’s worth of endorphins, improves sleep, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, smooth wrinkles, helps with rheumatoid-arthritis and heals joint pain. You will see and feel the effects immediately. To get this fabulous treatment go to Skintology at 157 East 57th Street.

Eve Pearl is a 5-Time Emmy Award Winner, Author and Authority on Beauty. She is a leader in the industry with two decades of experience as a makeup professional in television, film, theatre, print, setting the standards and trends in global beauty. Her make-up and skin care line bring immediate results. Eve’s book, ‘Plastic Surgery without the Surgery, The Miracle of Makeup Techniques’, has become a cult favorite and “must have” for beauty insight!

ScentBird: is a monthly perfume subscription. For $14.95 a month you get amazing scents that are just like all of the really expensive ones on the market and they come in adorable packaging.

Squeeze Juice is our favorite way to cleanse and ring in the New Year. These are the best tasting juices on the market and the healtiest.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


Jessica Chastain Strips Down Bare A Doll’s House and is Luminescent



In watching Jamie Lloyd’s version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, it feels like a scene study class. The set is stripped bare, there are no props, no costumes, no curtain, no children except their voices and no touching. On the wall is written 1879 and what was three acts is now one hour and fifty minutes, no intermission.

Jessica Chastain, is Nora who enters and sits on a wooden chair as the turntable circles about 15 minutes before the play starts. Slowly the other characters enter and sit with their backs to Nora.

Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain in A Doll’s House. Courtesy of A Doll’s House

The play starts as her husband Torvald (Arian Moayed), has been given a promotion at the bank where he works. At first Nora seems frivolous spending money they do not have yet for Christmas presents, for everyone but herself. She is scolded, then indulged as her husband controls her world, as do all the men around her. When Kristine (Jesmille Darkbouze), an old childhood friend returns needing a job, she makes Nora also feel like her life is trivial, until Nora confesses she secretly borrowed money years ago when Torvald was sick and has been paying it off. Torvald is about to fire Krogstad (Okieriete Onaodowan), but we find out he was who loaned Nora the money and that she forged her father’s name on the promissory note, which is a crime. If this secret gets out it will ruin the whole family.

Nora turns to her her husband’s best friend Dr. Rank (the wonderful Michael Patrick Thornton) for help. Their chemistry is undeniable, but he tells her he loves her breaking the boundries and she can not confess to her indiscretion with the signature. Dr Rank sees Nora for who she is and tells her he is about to die pushing her to the edge.

Trying her best to stop what is inevitable Nora decides to commit suicide. She is sure Torvald will give up everything due to his love for her. Instead she learns and wakes up to the truth. She has and will always be controlled by men. The pattern started with her father and when Torvald learns the truth, instead of being on her side, he berates her with hate. When Krogstad has a change of heart and decides not to blackmail the family, Torvald turns back to wanting his wife, but the truth has opened up her eyes to a world she does not and can not live it.

Chastain starts off low key and like an onion, peels down to the core. She subtly steals your heart and has you cheering for her. She is seriously one fabulous actress, with her face conveying everything. She should win the Tony for this performance. Moayed as Torvald comes off as weak and ineffectual. You never understand why Nora has given everything to this man. Onaodowan gives off villainy vibes until he shows us Krogstad pain and heart. Thornton as Dr Rank, steals nearly every scene.

The language feels too contemporary and Lloyd’s directing choices are not always effective, but Amy Herzog’s adaptation really made me feel the power of the text.

The end made me want to break out and sob. Men, still really do not see us or the small sacrifices we make or the large ones done in secret to better their lives. We love them, but we need to start loving ourselves.

A Doll’s House: Hudson Theatre, 141 West 44th Street until June 10th

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Theatre News: Smash, I Need That, Good Night, Oscar, Funny Girl, This Beautiful Lady and In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical



The NBC television series Smash is coming to Broadway for the 2024-2025 season. Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Steven Spielberg will produce. The musical will feature a book co-written by three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice and Tony winner Bob Martin. Tony and Grammy winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Some Like It Hot). The team earned three Emmy nominations for their songs from the “Smash” series will pen the score, which will feature numbers from the TV show.

Five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman (New York, New York) will direct and Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse will choreograph.

The series was created by Theresa Rebeck and Spielberg, launch the series. Spielberg is also one of the co-producers of Good Night, Oscar, which begins performances at the Belasco Theatre on April 7.

Official dates, theater, creative team and casting for the “Smash” stage musical will be announced at a later date.

Speaking of the Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Theresa Rebeck, Danny DeVito and Lucy DeVito are set to star in her new play I Need That at the Roundabout. The new comedy will be directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel which will open at the American Airlines Theatre in October. The cast will also include Ray Anthony Thomas. … Also newly announced for Roundabout’s new Broadway season is a spring 2024 revival of Samm-Art Williams’ 1980 Tony-nominated play “Home.” Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct

Speaking of Good Night, Oscar, Doug Wright’s play was named finalist for 2023 new play award by The American Theatre Critics Association. The other six finalists for the 2023 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award include: Born With Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams, the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson, Sally & Tom by Suzan-Lori Parks, Spay by Madison Fiedler and
Swing State by Rebecca Gilman.

Paolo Montalban and Anne L. Nathan are joining Lea Michele in  Funny Girl as Florenz Ziegfield and Mrs. Strakosh. Montalban and Nathan will replace original cast members Peter Francis James and Toni DiBuono, who take their final bows on March 26th.

Elizabeth Swados’ This Beautiful Lady will play at La MaMa this May. Previews will begin May 5 for the Off-Broadway run ahead of the May 8 press opening, with performances set through May 28 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.

In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Graham & Kristina Fuller, will receive industry readings on Friday, March 24th at 11am & 3pm at Ripley Grier Studios. The readings will be directed by Jen Wineman (Dog Man: The Musical) and will feature music direction by Rebekah Bruce (Mean Girls) and arrangements by Dan Graeber, Graham & Kristina Fuller.

The cast of In The Trenches features Amanda Jane Cooper (Wicked), Jelani Remy (The Lion King, Ain’t Too Proud), Christine Dwyer (Wicked), Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away), Max Crumm (Grease, Disaster!), and Vidushi Goyal.Join two bleary-eyed young parents as they trudge through the trenches and discover their new post-baby identities. In an evening of new-parent greatest hits, a foul-mouthed toddler zeroes in on “the most dangerous thing in the room”, tap dancing towards bleach, knives, and tide pods; a chronically-overlooked younger sibling sings the “second child blues”; a mom trio celebrates yoga pants in an R&B love song to the “official mom uniform”; dad discovers he’s not the “ice-cream and movie-night cool parent” but rather the “do your homework real parent” amid a kiddo sugar-crash; and mom retrieves a sticky, hair-covered pacifier from the floor of a LaGuardia bathroom while her baby screams bloody murder and her flight boards without her. 

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Foul Play on Broadway



Photo by Bruce Glikas/wire image

According to Page Six  a serial pooper has been leaving presents in the aisle of the Shubert Theater. The last incident happened near Hillary and Chelsea Clinton during a performance of Some Like It Hot.

According to a theater staff member other presents have appeared.

I am thrilled to announce that the show has been attracting VIPs including Steven Spielberg, Martin Short, Debbie Allen, Bo Derek, Eddie Izzard, Hank Azaria, Kristin Chenoweth and more.

Some Like It Hot, has some of the best songs, choreography, direction and performances on Broadway, so I am thrilled the audiences are finally noticing.

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